Our little, big future (Antz) – Chapter 3

Chapter 3. “We will do it–But together”

Z, Bala, Azteca & Weaver

At the shout, Weaver and Azteca jumped apart as if they got a cramp. But their countenance changed from surprise to mock anger when they saw from whom the reprimand came.

“Oh, excuse me, Your Highness!” the female ant poked Z as she took Weaver’s hand, and they both walked over to where Bala and the ‘hero of the day’ were standing. “We didn’t mean to intrude.”

“Ha, ha,” laughed the alluded one, sarcastically. “Very funny.”

“What?” Azteca defended herself with a triumphant smile as she and the soldier ant settled on a ledge near the window, facing the other two. “Face it: that’s what you’ll be soon.”

!Yeah. But don’t let it go up to your head, or we’ll have to take you down right away!” laughed Weaver, slipping an arm around Azteca’s waist. 

That gesture was already as simple as breathing. However, when he saw Z’s quizzical and ambiguous gaze, the soldier was almost tempted to withdraw. They hadn’t spoken openly about it, but he wasn’t sure how Z. Being as paranoid as he was, anyone knew…

However, the one who opened her mouth to comment on it was Azteca. Plus, without separating a millimeter from the soldier.

“What’s the matter, Z? Do we have something on our faces?”

The questioned ant changed his face from one second to the next as it seemed, without knowing where to stand. It was true that it still shocked him to see his two best friends in such an–“intimate” attitude. On the other hand, he could do nothing but rejoice on the inside that things had gone this way. After all, wasn’t that Weaver’s dream come true – to date a worker girl?

“What? Me? No–No way…” -he cleared his throat, uncomfortable- “What could you possibly have that would attract my attention so much that I would stare at you like an idiot–? Well, I don’t mean that you both don’t have your attractiveness, of course. But, well, anyway–” 

Z wanted to be swallowed up by the earth. It was always the same when he got nervous. Bala turned at that instant, looked at them alternately, and let out a chuckle, covering his mouth with his hand, but said nothing. Weaver and Azteca watched Z with raised eyebrows, waiting for a better answer and giving no sign of either offense or flattery at any time for what the poor worker had babbled so far. 

“Oh, okay, that’s fine. What the hell. If at some point I had to spit it out–“

“Z!” Azteca urged him, rolling her eyes and beginning to lose patience. “Let it go already, man!”

Z shut up suddenly, looked at them–He weighed his chances, took a deep breath, and started:

“Okay. You asked for it, Azteca,” he pointed at her. She and Weaver exchanged a knowing glance before the million-dollar question finally arrived. “Can you explain to me–How–How on earth did my two best friends end up together?”

The two alluded to, as was to be expected, laughed loudly and with some ill-concealed modesty. But it was Azteca who, after recovering, responded with false innocence:

“Oh. I’m sorry, Z, but I think that’s entirely your fault.”

There it was Z’s turn to raise his eyebrows in surprise.

My fault? What do you mean, my fault?”

“Yeah, you know,” Weaver said mockingly, “Who was it that begged me to change his seat to go see some princess on a royal inspection?”

Bala’s mouth fell open in fun-full amazement as the pieces of how Z had gotten to her, after the battle with the termites, sweetly ‘clicked’ together in her headThe defendant, on the other hand, barely managed to keep his composure, overcome with embarrassment.

“Hey, remember we said that would be a secret between us?” He whispered, hiding his mouth with his hand and leaning toward his friend in a conspiratorial gesture.

However, he didn’t count on Bala having a perfectly tuned ear, even more so sitting next to him.

“Well, Z. I only had to put two and two together to know what had happened. Don’t feel so guilty–” she joked with a half-smile, wrapping a finger around his antenna as he hugged her helplessly.

“Yeah, the princess is right–” Azteca began.

“Oh. Call me Bala, please,” asked the other young female ant with surprising humility. “I don’t think the four of us should be going around with formalities at this point, do you?” Doubt reflected in Weaver’s and Azteca’s faces, but Bala had a way to reassure them. “Come on. You’re both Z’s best friends. I couldn’t do that to you.”

The two ant lovers exchanged a hesitant glance before smiling and nodding at the same time.

“All right,” Azteca agreed, looking at her again. “So, Z,” she continued, turning back to him. “What I was saying is that I think Bala is right. And, to tell you the truth,” she looked back at Weaver eloquently, “I must admit that I appreciate your ‘experiment’ in foraying into the military.”

“So do I!” Weaver corroborated, hugging a smiling Azteca. “The truth is that I think they made a mistake when they assigned us tasks when we were born–“

“Oh, please. I would never have developed that puffing chest–” Z laughed. “And as glad as I am that you’re together, I am, the truth is that I don’t think I’m really into physical exercise–“

“Well, who knows…” said Bala then, startling Z. There was a strange determination shining in her violet eyes as she spoke. “I mean–I guess it’s true that in some things, we’ve been too rigid for a long time…”

The princess leaned back in her seat, and the four of them thought for a moment at that statement, knowing it was accurate, at least until Bala raised her head again and pointed her chin at Weaver. 

“And you, Weaver, have you decided what to say to Cutter?” The soldier was only slightly surprised since he suspected Bala knew, but Bala confirmed it just in case. “Yes, I know the new General has spoken to you. Don’t look at me like that,” she smiled, peaceful. “Few things don’t cross my future queen’s ears now–“

Weaver smiled half-heartedly. Relieved in part, but again gripped by doubts. However, just as he was about to respond a second later, another, higher-pitched voice interjected, stunned:

“The General?” Z interjected, looking at them alternately and not quite believing it. “But–What did he tell you? And why didn’t you tell me anything?”

“It was at the party earlier, actually,” Weaver assured him, albeit with a certain reflective air. 

He didn’t know when the General would have spoken to Bala, but all in good time, he preferred to calm the waters with his best friend in the first instance. To his surprise, his voice hardly trembled as he confessed. 

“Cutter has asked me to be one of his second-in-command for the development of the new anthill.”

But, that’s–That’s fantastic!” Z rejoiced before noticing his partner’s troubled face. “Although–Maybe it’s not what you want, of course–But, such a promotion! It’s incredible!”

Weaver snorted softly but did not answer. Yes, it was indeed a great opportunity, even considering that it would be moving up several positions in the hierarchy in one fell swoop. But he was so afraid to step out of his current comfort zone–

“I think it’s a good opportunity for him,” said Azteca then, looking at her beloved with sweetness and making the turbulences of her mind dilute a little at the sight of his honey eyes. “And I think he’ll do it tenfold, don’t you, honey?”

Weaver sighed and, after a moment’s hesitation, gave a half-smile.

“As long as you don’t forget about me down there, as a union leader, it’s okay with me–“

Azteca laughed and hugged him tightly. Almost certainly, that was a yes; and she couldn’t be prouder. The colony would never find a more loyal soldier, and Weaver had to know that. For their part, Z and Bala looked at them tenderly, equally entwined his arms around her torso.

“You know? I think one thing is clear, for all of us,” the princess then commented, suddenly claiming the attention of the three around her: her beloved and her two new friends. 

Unwillingly, in a few weeks, she had gone from feeling alone to having everything she could almost wish for in life. She felt fulfilled. With a big responsibility in her immediate future, but sure that everything would work out well. 

“We want to achieve a better future for the colony. And that is the most important thing.”

Azteca smiled and brought one hand forward, palm down. Z guessed his intention and placed his on top, followed by Weaver and, finally, a quizzical Bala. But, when all-four joined, Azteca pronounced:

“For a better future–Together and united for those who matter most to us.”

And so, repeated by the other three, their oath lifted to the high ceiling of the hallway. Then it traveled down the corridor, the throne room, the corridors leading to the barracks, and the rest of the anthill. A collective wish shared by all the ants that slept between their bends as a new day dawned over Central Park.

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